§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he is satisfied with the existing facilities for accommodating young adult mentally handicapped persons; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will make a statement on the building programme for hostels and other accommodation for young adult mentally handicapped persons.
§ Mr. Millan
Local authorities have made significant progress with the provision of accommodation in the community for mentally handicapped people since the memorandum on "Services for the Mentally Handicapped" was issued92W in 1972. Whereas in 1972 there were less than 100 places available for mentally handicapped people in local authority homes, there are now more than 1,200 places available in local authority and voluntary homes. One project is at present under construction and four more projects are expected to start in 1978–79.
In addition to progress with the traditional type of residential provision, there have been encouraging developments in connection with the accommodation of mentally handicapped people in ordinary housing. Some social work authorities have reached agreement with housing authorities on the allocation of houses for conversion into small group homes or flatlets, and projects of this nature are proving highly successful. I hope that local authorities will provide further projects of this kind. Another way in which residential accommodation can be provided is through housing associations which can receive Government grant towards the provision of accommodation for people with special needs.
As far as hospital accommodation is concerned, the total number of beds available is adequate, but their distribution throughout Scotland on a geographical basis is uneven. New units to improve the distribution of beds are included in the hospital building programme.
These developments are encouraging and, while much remains to be done, it is clear that a number of measures are being taken to provide better facilities for the mentally handicapped.